In 1909, the master of efficiency and standardization, Henry Ford popularly said, “any customer can have a car painted any color so long as it is black.” The machines were introduced in the First Industrial Revolution to replace hand labor when Ford helped usher in what was eventually the core of mass production. While the first revolution was all about introducing machines, the later era – the Second Industrial Revolution took place using those machines to produce massive quantities of standardized products.
Today, more than hundred years later since Ford’s industry-defining statement, 3D printing is here and is making its way into the mainstream while allowing anyone to create customized products at affordable prices. It has enabled us to tailor our products that meet our individual needs at little or no cost at all. However, the additive manufacturing has been around for the last 30 years. But only in the past five years has it gained this great recognition. With the promise: everyone can print objects at home with a 3D printer and become a designer, BigRep entered the market in 2014 only to lead the industry later. Within a short span of over three years, BigRep is already one of the well-known names in the 3D Printing industry.
The World’s Largest Standardized 3D Printer Manufacturer
Headquartered in Berlin-Kreuzberg, with offices in New York and Singapore, BigRep develops and manufactures the world’s largest standardized 3D printer. One of the groundbreaking developments of this startup is the BigRep ONE, which is supplemented by the smaller BigRep STUDIO. A lot of new features have been introduced to the latest version of the BigRep ONE large scale 3D printer aimed to achieve the best possible conditions for printing large objects. BigRep has redesigned the modular print which in combination with a larger flexible spool holder which provides the ideal 3D printer for manufacturing large-scale objects. The company’s new high throughput extruder for 1 and 2mm nozzles allows for the highest performances, making the BigRep ONE v3, one of the fastest large-scale 3D printers on the market. Apart from these, the company has Pro HT Filament, world’s first high temperature filament for 3D printing in an open and unheated design space with heat resistance of 115°C and Pro HS Filament that reduces printing time by up to 50 percent.
Revolutionizing Design, Prototyping and Industrial Production
Interdisciplinarity and well-founded experience in the field of additive production has been the key factor of this ever-growing company which characterizes the multi-national team of more than 60 employees. In addition to new products, the company is now concentrating on complete solutions for industrial customers in the form of integrated additive manufacturing systems – such as the continuous printing project with TNO – announced in Autumn 2016. A highly innovative engineering company that BigRep is, aims to revolutionize design, prototyping and industrial production from the ground up. Over the next five years, BigRep intends to become a leading international supplier of additive manufacturing systems.
René Gurka: A Visionary Actively Involved in Additive Manufacturing
René Gurka, the CEO, and co-founder of BigRep has been actively involved in the future of additive manufacturing together with his international interdisciplinary team for the last three years. In the past, he worked among other positions as CEO for Berlin Partner GmbH which is responsible for the business development of the German capital as well as for the German-American Chamber of Trade in San Francisco.
“We listen carefully when our customers talk about their wishes and needs. This has also led to the development of another compact office solution. With the BigRep Studio, we are opening up a new dimension of 3D printing. The print volume of 500 x 1000 x 500 mm provides an adequate area for large-format prints, setting new standards in speed and precision. The perfect combination of design, size and functionality allows printing in almost all places such as office, studio or loft,” explains René Gurka on the current industry trends.
Developing an End-to-End AM System
Today, BigRep not only builds the largest series-produced FFF machines in the world but, together with the Dutch TNO, is developing an end-to-end AM system which aims to raise the industrial production of additive parts to an entirely new level. No doubt, the 3D startup has reached the peak, but the winds and the waves were always on the side of BigRep which made it happen. Nonetheless, the challenges are still there, but team BigRep is prepared to tackle every obstacle.
Painting the Picture of Tomorrow Long Before Anyone
Production time is still one of the greatest challenges faced by additive manufacturing, and BigRep understands this very well. FDM, SLS or SLM technologies still require up to three days to complete a 3D printed large product. However, the industry requires significantly shorter production times, like those offered by conventional mass-production. Thus, in the company’s in-house innovation department, NOWlab, industrial designers, mechanical engineers, mechatronics and software developers, are together developing unique machines, materials and products, and are sketching tomorrow’s application scenarios. On the one hand, this not only includes entirely new machine concepts, but also solutions, such as a non-contact switch, which can be integrated into additively manufactured components.
On the Verge of Technical Revolution
Undoubtedly, fully-automated 3D printing will revolutionize industrial manufacturing over the next five years. An annual growth rate of about 20 percent is predicted by the year 2030 which represents an increase from currently 4.1 to about 40 billion US dollars. However, the ultimate truth is the biggest growth comes from production, and not from prototyping. “We must master these challenges as quickly as possible, because one thing is certain: we are at the beginning of a technical revolution. AM technology will decisively influence the entire value chain in industrial production over the next five years. We should take advantage of this opportunity!” shares René on the future.
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